China calls for fair treatment for TikTok after new bans on the app

The Chinese government today called for a “fair deal” for Chinese companies, after the ban against TikTok grew this week. The United States, Canada and the European Union were joined by the governments of Great Britain and New Zealand, who also prohibited their officials from using the application.

“We call on the countries involved to recognize the objective facts, effectively respect the market economy”. said the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, according to what was reported by PA. The official asked ensuring an “environment without discrimination”.

The countries that have promoted the veto fear that TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, could use user data in espionage tasks involving the Chinese government. They have also warned about the risk of promoting propaganda or disinformation campaigns.

TikTok has insisted that it operates with an independent management team and that it does not share data with Beijing. In his defense, he has explained that he does not collect more data from users than the rest of the social networks.

More governments join the TikTok veto for fear of its link with China

New Zealand is the country that has most recently joined the ban against TikTok, due to its possible link to China. The chief executive of the New Zealand Parliamentary Services, Rafael González-Montero, explained today that the application will be prohibited from March 31. All mobile devices with access to the parliamentary network must remove the app. It represents, said González-Montero, an “unacceptable” risk for the privacy and security of government tasks.

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The measure taken by the British authorities is for immediate implementation. Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden said the ban must be complied with by ministers and civil servants.

TikTok logo on a mobile screen

All this occurs amid rumors about the eventual sale of TikTok as a possible solution to cut ties with China. The Wall Street Journal published this week that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is part of the Treasury Department, was threatening to ban the video platform nationwide unless it changed ownership. So far, the veto only applies to government officials.

“If the objective is to protect national security, calling for prohibition or alienation is unnecessary, since neither option solves the problems of the data access and transfer industry”, a TikTok spokesperson responded to the AFP. The application is one of the most popular in the United States: it is estimated that two thirds of adolescents in this country use it.

“We remain confident that the best path to address national security concerns is to protect US-based user data and systems, with robust monitoring, investigation, and third-party verification.”

Brooke Oberwetter, spokeswoman for TikTok.

The ban against Tiktok is just one of several conflicts between China and other governments related to cybersecurity. The controversy has involved smartphone companies such as Huawei, processor chips and other technology industries.

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